collection1b

collection1b

December 31, 2014

Arrow Trademark Pointers





[Posted on L&P on May 1, 2010, July 7, 2010, and Aug 13, 2010.]
        Almost all of the Eagle Pencil Co. trademarks include these tantalizing little images of eagles with outstretched wings, and holding
spears or arrows in their beaks or talons, and other pointy sticks such as pencils and penholdersSome of the images show the eagle holding spears on one side and an olive branch on the other, perhaps their version of the pencil being mightier than the sword.  The Eagle Pencil Co. seems to be implying that, when writing with their pens and pencils, you will shake spears with your written words. But here are a few slightly different pointed marks.
        US trademark no. 71,047 from 1908, but said to be used since 1890, is for the word “Spear”, but with the letters constructed of little spearheads, or arrowheads, so that the letters look like they have little arrowhead-shaped serifs.  And US trademark no. 157,493 from 1922, is for the word “Pointer”, but with the letters a little more crudely formed, and the serifs shaped like simply drawn arrows.  Also let me also point you to US trademark no. 69,248 from 1908, but used since 1882, for the word “Arrow” along with a stylized picture of an arrow.
        The long-standing tradition of the use of figurative arrows in pen trademarks and designs continues with these two feather designs, US no. D88,821 from 1932 for the Parker “Vacumatic” pen and pencil arrow clip, and US no. D93,444 from 1934 for the “Quill Feather” pen and pencil arrow clip assigned to the Spencerian Pen Co.  US trademark no.
323,266 by A. W. Faber for “Rubber Erasers” from 1935, but used since 1924, is for the word “Arrowhead” for wooden-pencil erasers shaped like, you guessed it, arrowheads.  US trademark no. 419,077 from 1946, but used since 1932, is for the Parker Pen Co. symbol of an arrow.  It was registered by Kenneth S. Parker, but Ivan D. Tefft was appointed as attorney “to prosecute this application for registration”.  US trademark no. 628,281 by Parker from 1956 is for the name “Golden Arrow”, and US trademark no. 628,282 is for the name “Silver Arrow”.  US trademark no. 659,068 by Parker from 1958 is for a heraldic crest, or shield with two quills, an arrow, and the letter “P”, for Parker.  US trademark no. 774,545 by Parker from 1964, but used since 1955, is for the word “Arrow”.  US trademark no. 779,075 by Parker from 1964, but used since 1958, is for an earlier version of the familiar Parker arrow-and-oval symbol.  US trademark no. 904,691 by Parker from 1970, but used since 1965, is for another version of the Parker arrow-and-oval symbol.  US trademark no. 1,178,088 by Parker from 1981, but used since 1932, is for an arrow-shaped clip illustrated on the short, Minim-sized Jotter ballpoint in US trademark no. 811,716.  US trademark no. 1,301,611 by Parker from 1984, used since 1955, is for a clip that preceded, but which later became the tasteful, early “Centennial Duofold” arrow clip, also shown in US design no. D330,217, in Figs. 3 and 4 in the illustrations.  The later “Centennial Duofold” arrow clip was redesigned in a bulbous, bloated, garish, and ungainly version of the clip, designed for a more crass buying public interested only in limited editions and pens as investments.  They are more interested in being seen carrying a fountain 
pen than actually using a fountain pen.  But life is too short to write with an ugly pen.


George Kovalenko.

. 

 

December 28, 2014

Jewelry Trademarks 1922


, and 1904.



        Here is the 1922 volume of the Trademarks of the Jewelry and Kindred Trades, the hardest volume to find.  I was just looking through the statistics for my blog, and I found a curious “Referring URL” in the “Traffic Sources” in my “Blogger Dashboard”.  The URL was for the Hathi Trust, which I use a lot for making references to specific issues of stationery magazines.  I prefer the Hathi Trust online references, which are universally clickable, to the Google Books online references, which are clickable only within the US.  Well, as I was looking through the list of featured databases in the above Hathi reference, I stumbled upon this one, the complete volume of the 1922 jewelry trademarks.

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hb9jsx;view=1up;seq=1

As well, here’s a short version of the 1922 marks from the “Chicago Silver” website.  [Thanks to Cheryl Bynum, a jewelry collector, for the link.]

http://chicagosilver.com/jmarks1.htm

        The original volume of the long version is from the Harvard University library, and it is downloadable only by logging in with a partner institution, but you can always view it online, anytime.  Alternatively, Hathi allows downloading of PDFs of individual pages one at a time, and the website facilitates easy online citations of the whole volume, or individual pages.  Here’s the first page of the pen section within the context of the whole volume.

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hb9jsx;view=1up;seq=314

And here’s the individual image of page 288, or pageview 316.

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/image?id=hvd.hb9jsx;seq=316;width=1250


The fountain pen and mechanical pencil company section begins on page 286 of the hardcopy and goes to page 295, but the online version in Hathi goes from pageview 314 to pageview 323.
        There were various editions published in 1896, 1904, 1915, 1922, 1943, and 1950.  Cheryl tells me there is also a 1909 supplement to the 1904 edition.  The PDFs of the 1904 edition can be found online at the following two links.  The pen and pencil section starts near the beginning of the second part, on hardcopy page 142, and pageview 13.

http://www.ipmall.info/hosted_resources/ip_antique_library/Trademark/Jewelers_1904_a.pdf
http://www.ipmall.info/hosted_resources/ip_antique_library/Trademark/Jewelers_1904_b.pdf


        Paolo Demuro, a pen collector in Italy, also sent me these alternate links to the 1904 trademarks.  –July 2, 2017.

https://ipmall.law.unh.edu/sites/default/files/hosted_resources/ip_antique_library/Trademark/Jewelers_1904_a.pdf
https://ipmall.law.unh.edu/sites/default/files/hosted_resources/ip_antique_library/Trademark/Jewelers_1904_b.pdf

        Does anyone know of any other online editions for the other years?

   George Kovalenko.

.
 

December 20, 2014

A. A. Waterman obituary


        In my
Waterman’s v. Waterman” blogpost below, I mentioned that in the genealogical history of The Waterman Family, by Edgar F. Waterman & Donald L. Jacobus, there is a listing for Arthur A. Waterman in vol. 2, pp. 82-84.  At the end of the entry there is a citation for the source of the information.  The obituary is said to be in the Mar 13, 1939, issue of The New York Times, with no page number given, but it’s actually from Mar 12, 1939, on p. 61.  I found the obituary at my local university library in “ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2010)”.  The Waterman book also cites a “news item” in the May 4, 1939 issue, but I can’t find that reference at all.  Given that the other date was incorrectly cited, perhaps this one might have been incorrectly cited as well.  The genealogical listing in the book follows the obituary quite closely.  Here it is.
 

“ARTHUR WATERMAN DIES IN BROOKLYN”

Retired Inventor of ‘Middle
  Joint’ Fountain Pen, Rival
    of L. E. Waterman Co.
————————
 
FIRMS’ HEADS UNRELATED
————————
 
Manufacturer, 79, First Head
  of Harvard Cooperative
    Society in 1880s

       
Arthur A. Waterman of 37-46 Seventy-sixth Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, a retired fountain pen manufacturer, died yesterday in the Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, of uremic poisoning after an illness of two years.  He was born seventy-nine years ago at Arcadi, near Troy, N.Y.
       
After attending Harvard College, where he was a member of the class of ’85 and was the first superintendent of the Harvard Cooperative Society, Mr. Waterman established his home in this city.  He was the first inventor and manufacturer of a “middle joint” fountain pen.
       
For some years he manufactured pens here under the name of the A. A. Waterman Fountain Pen Company, with headquarters at 22 Thames Street, later moving to Chicago, where he carried on the business until his retirement about twenty years ago [my italic emphasis].
       
At one time his company was engaged in litigation with the L. E. Waterman Company, rival manufacturers of fountain pens, as a result of the similarity in name.  The fact that two unrelated Watermans were making fountain pens at the same time was said last night by a member of Mr. Waterman’s family to have been purely a coincidence.
       
Surviving are his widow, the former Emma Fuller; a son, John F. Waterman, and two daughters, both high school teachers, the Misses Dorothy W. and Emma F. Waterman, all of New York.

        So as “more recent research has shown”, he was only ostensibly forced out of his own pen company in 1905, but instead carried on until his retirement around 1919.

George Kovalenko.

.

 

December 14, 2014

System, the magazine of business


        Here’s System, another early stationer’s magazine from Hathi Trust, an almost complete run from Volume 1, 1901, to Volume 42, 1922.  There aren’t as many fountain pen and mechanical pencil ads as there are in some other stationers’ magazines, but they are there.  The magazine deals mostly with systematization methods and organizational tools for the business man, mostly forms and statistics and ledgers and graphs and filing cabinets and index cards.  Oh yeah, they love their little index cards.

v. 1 (1901) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098514;view=1up;seq=1
v. 2 (1902) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896761;view=1up;seq=1
v. 3 (1903a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.319510028049417;view=1up;seq=1
v. 4 (1903b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896763;view=1up;seq=1
v. 5 (1904a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896764;view=1up;seq=1
v. 6 (1904b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896765;view=1up;seq=1
v. 7 (1905a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896766;view=1up;seq=1
v. 8 (1905b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896767;view=1up;seq=1
v. 9 (1906a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896768;view=1up;seq=1
v. 10 (1906b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896769;view=1up;seq=1
v. 11 (1907a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896770;view=1up;seq=1
v. 12 (1907b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896771;view=1up;seq=1
v. 13 (1908a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896772;view=1up;seq=1
v. 14 (1908b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896773;view=1up;seq=1
v. 15 (1909a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896774;view=1up;seq=1
v. 16 (1909b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896775;view=1up;seq=1
v. 17 (1910a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896777;view=1up;seq=1
v. 18 (1910b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896778;view=1up;seq=1
v. 19 (1911a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896776;view=1up;seq=1
v. 20 (1911b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896779;view=1up;seq=1
v. 21 (1912a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896780;view=1up;seq=1
v. 22 (1912b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896781;view=1up;seq=1
v. 23 (1913a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896782;view=1up;seq=1
v. 24 (1913b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896783;view=1up;seq=1
v. 25 (1914a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896784;view=1up;seq=1
v. 26 (1914b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896785;view=1up;seq=1
v. 27 (1915a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b2896786;view=1up;seq=1
v. 28 (1915b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2555790;view=1up;seq=1
v. 29 (1916a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2555791;view=1up;seq=1
v. 30 (1916b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557300;view=1up;seq=1
v. 31 (1917a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557301;view=1up;seq=1
v. 32 (1917b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557302;view=1up;seq=1
v. 33 (1918a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557303;view=1up;seq=1
v. 34 (1918b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557304;view=1up;seq=1
v. 35 (1919a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557305;view=1up;seq=1
v. 36 (1919b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557306;view=1up;seq=1
v. 37 (1920a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557307;view=1up;seq=1
v. 38 (1920b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557308;view=1up;seq=1
v. 39 (1921a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557309;view=1up;seq=1
v. 40 (1921b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557310;view=1up;seq=1
v. 41 (1922a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557311;view=1up;seq=1
v. 42 (1922b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.c2557312;view=1up;seq=1
 

        The shame is that the online issues stop in 1922, just before the Duofold era, and there are some real badass Duofold ads coming, if they ever release the rest of the issues.  I know there are some unique, and heretofore unseen and unknown ads because I’ve seen hardcopies of some of them.  But even though the links for these later volumes are supplied by Hathi Trust, they are not available online.  If you click on these links, you get the message, “This item is not available online (Limited search only) due to copyright restrictions”, and if you perform a word search, say for the word “Duofold”, you get the message, “Full view is not available for this item due to copyright © restrictions”.  But maybe someday, soon, . . .

v. 43 (1923a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010780768
v. 44 (1923b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781410
v. 45 (1924a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781402
v. 46 (1924b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781329
v. 47 (1925a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781394
v. 48 (1925b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781436
v. 49 (1926a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781428
v. 50 (1926b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781238
v. 51 (1927a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781352
v. 52 (1927b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781279
v. 53 (1928a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781246
v. 54 (1928b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781444
v. 55 (1929a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781527
v. 56 (1929b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015010781535

George Kovalenko.

.
 

[Addendum, Jan 7, 2015.
Some of the volumes above have had their advertisements stripped out of them when they were bound, but here are some substitute volumes from another university library offered by Hathi as alternates.]

v. 4 (1903b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098555;view=1up;seq=1
v. 5 (1904a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098654;view=1up;seq=1
v. 6 (1904b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098605;view=1up;seq=1
v. 7 (1905a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098662;view=1up;seq=1
v. 8 (1905b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098670;view=1up;seq=1
v. 9 (1906a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098688;view=1up;seq=1
v. 10 (1906b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098696;view=1up;seq=1
v. 11 (1907a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098613;view=1up;seq=1
v. 12 (1907b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098639;view=1up;seq=1
v. 13 (1908a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098647;view=1up;seq=1
v. 14 (1908b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098621;view=1up;seq=1
v. 15 (1909a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098563;view=1up;seq=1
v. 16 (1909b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098597;view=1up;seq=1
v. 17 (1910a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098571;view=1up;seq=1
v. 18 (1910b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106098589;view=1up;seq=1
v. 19 (1911a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095940;view=1up;seq=1
v. 20 (1911b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095932;view=1up;seq=1
v. 21 (1912a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095924;view=1up;seq=1
v. 22 (1912b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095916;view=1up;seq=1
v. 23 (1913a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095908;view=1up;seq=1
v. 24 (1913b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095957;view=1up;seq=1
v. 25 (1914a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095965;view=1up;seq=1
v. 26 (1914b) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095973;view=1up;seq=1
v. 27 (1915a) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924106095981;view=1up;seq=1

 

December 11, 2014

The Waterman’s globe-shaped Santa


[First posted on L&P on Dec 21, 2011.]
      I’m not a Christmas person, so I’m going to post this Santa image one last time.  I follow the solstices and equinoxes, and the hibernal solstice is a good marker for the beginning of the year, so at most I will say Happy Yuletide to everyone with this b&w ad, which was colorized by
moi, yours truly.  I thought I also found a use of the word “fountpen” by a pen company other than Mabie Todd Co., in the imprint on the buckle holding the belt around Santa’s fat girth.  I thought it read “Waterman’s Ideal Fountpen”, shortened because there wasn’t enough room for the full word.  But the full word “Fountain Pen” is still there, just like in the big sign over his shoulder.
 


      Here’s the original Waterman’s ad on the cover of The American Stationer.  This image was first used 99 years ago in the cover ad on Dec 18, 1915, p.1, but I used the version from a year later, Dec 2, 1916, p.1, because the digitization was cleaner.  Also, there is an illustrated article in the earlier issue, on p.5, in which the globe-shaped model for the rotund and orotund Santa is identified as Charles N. Bellman, the then-current president of the National Assoc. of Stationers.
      And here’s a
color version of this ad image used as part of a Waterman’s brochure, which I found on Luiz Leite’s blog, and where it is said to be from 1919.  But all the pens they hold in their left hands have cap bands, and some of the pens are Ripples, and all the Santas are holding pencils over their right shoulders, which places it after 1923.  The earlier version of the ad could still have some unusual, atypical, non-standard colors in Santa’s costume, but by the time of the later brochure, the colors have been standardized to what is commonly thought to be the corporate Coca-Cola red-and-white color scheme, which they merely popularized.

George Kovalenko.

.
 

December 07, 2014

The ‘Peter Pen’ Episode


      [No, this is not about the cartoon figure that was featured in the early Onoto pen ads.  And it’s not about “Speedy Phil”, Conway Stewart’s answer to Onoto’s “Peter Pen”.  This short segment of a chapter is from the slim French novel Racines de sable (2000) by Monique Genuist, pp.32-36.  The book is an autobiographical novel about a house named Sandrine in which the author lived, here in my city.  The novel is narrated by the house, which literally has “roots of sand”, and it calls the author Janine, and tells the story of all the people who lived and all the things that happened within the house.  All the characters are living people who have been tuckerized and fictionalized.  And writing a calligraphic line is like riding a tightrope, or flying like Peter Pan on Flying-by-Foy theatrical line sets, in order to let you “jump on the wind’s back and then away you go”.  I call it
the Peter Pen high-wire episode.]

      . . . Against the apple tree where balloons are floating, the international sign of a garage sale, a young man sets his bicycle.  Janine recognizes him.  Whatever the weather, he sports a grey felt hat firmly posted for cycling, a black leather jacket, a little timeworn at the seams, and jeans with a narrow leg of the same color.  When it gets really cold, he wraps a red scarf around his neck.  Tall, very thin, this bicycle funambulist [tightrope rider] seems to thrive in all kinds of weather.
      Janine doesn’t really know him.  One day, he smiled at her and she responded.  Since then, they would greet one another every time they met, she who walked, he who pedalled with long, lean legs through wind, snow, or dust storm.
      He comes towards her.  For the first time, she notices the clear blue eyes illuminating the face like the blade of a knife.  He asks her, scorchingly point‑blank:
      “Do you have any old fountain pens?  You know, pens that are filled from an ink bottle, like we used to use.”
      She thinks for a moment:
      “Yes, I think so.  I haven’t yet emptied my desk drawers.  I am sure that we have several.  Old ones that don’t work any more and which we have kept, just like that, because they are pretty.  It would have been a pity to throw them out.  Wait a minute.”
      She runs inside and brings back three.  He holds out a long slender hand and takes them with delicacy.  He removes the cap from the first one, tries the filling lever.  He lifts to her a gentle smile.
      “1930!  A Waterman in green celluloid that resembles jade, it’s magnificent.  Where did it come from?”
      “It belonged to my grandmother.”
      “How much do you want for it?”
      She sees the jeans, the jacket, the felt hat, always the same types of clothes since she met him.  But she has no intention of parting with this souvenir of her grandmother.  On the other hand, what price can one place on a keepsake?
      “I had no intention of selling it.”
      “Oh, . . . okay.”
      His smile melts away.  He examines the two others attentively.
      Those were hers, but now she prefers the Bic Stick that one doesn’t need to refill and which doesn’t leak.  With the fountain pen, she oftentimes found a way to stain herself.
      He says:
      “These are more recent, from the fifties.”
      He opens his black backpack, which he carries by a strap over one shoulder.  He takes out a handful, some Parkers, some Sheaffers, some Eversharps.  Some large, some thin, some black, some gold-filled, some marbleized to look like semi-precious stones; one speaks of onyx, coral, jade, lapis lazuli, or mother of pearl inlaid in ebony.  He touches them, fondles them, caresses them.  He explains that fountain pens existed from the tenth century, in Egypt, but that they did not start to become popular till about the 1850s, when they could be made from hard rubber.  He selects a slender one, black, gold band, and to demonstrate for Janine, he writes his name in fine letters, large and well formed on a card: Peter Engel.
      But why not “Peter Pen”, rather, she wonders, amusedly.
      He tells her he likes nibs that can form both wide downstrokes and slender sidestrokes.  Then he adds, nostalgically:
      “The ballpoint pen has killed the calligraphic quality of everyday handwriting.”
      Janine doesn’t say anything, she who writes like the illegible scrawlings of a frog
in the mud [gribouillis de grenouille].  She remembers her writing lessons in elementary school.
      She recalls how she was taught to write properly, how all the letters had to be formed between the lines in a copybook with Seyes paper, how she dreaded these classes dedicated to penmanship, how the school mistress gave her a tap on the fingers with a ruler because she would drift away during these lessons, thinking of other things such as recess, and the singing of the birds in the school yard, so much so that she had not mastered the art of calligraphy of which this young man spoke.
      “But what do you do with all these pens?”
      “I collect them, I repair them, I use them, I research them, I write about them, and I sell them when I have duplicates.”
      What does he eat, then, this fountain pen funambulist
? [funambule aux plumes-fontaine] [tightrope artist aux fountain pens] [tightrope writer] [tightrope penman] [tightrope pensmith] [fountain pen fundamentalist]!
      He gently smiles at her and asks, timidly:
      “You’re moving away, aren’t you?  That’s too bad.  How much do you want for the other two?”
      All of a sudden, she can no longer stand the softness of that smile, a little sad, nor those penetrating blue eyes that fix on her so as not to forget her
.
      She lowers her head.  She takes his long supple hand, opens it, and places the three pens in it, then gently closes his fingers over them and murmurs:
      “I give them to you, in remembrance.”
      A burst of happiness animates his thin face.  The young man carefully arranges his treasures in his black bag.  He hands her a card where he has written in well-formed letters his address below his name:
      “For when you come across some others.”
      Then he sets off again, the
fountain pen funambulist, the Don Quixote on a bicycle, face bright, “fun-again awake” in his eyes, hat tilted a little, with grandmother’s fountain pen snug in the bag slung across his shoulders, like a bandolier of mightier pens. . . .

—translated, a little freely, by George Kovalenko.

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December 04, 2014

The Geocentric Universe


, a pen-trade cartoon.



Star, sun, moon, flat earth.

 It used to be that Waterman’s was the center of the universe, 
and all the other penmakers revolved around it.
It had a virtual monopoly of the trade,
and squandered it all away.
 
Next week, the fat girth society.

George Kovalenko.


.